Sunda pig-tailed macaque

(Macaca nemestrina)

Range and habitat
Sunda pig-tailed macaques are found throughout Southeast Asia, from Indonesia and Thailand to Malaysia. They live from sea level to above 2,000 metres, mostly in rainforests that are dense and humid.

The Sunda pig-tailed macaque belongs to the Macaca (macaques) genus and the Cercopithecidae or ‘Old World monkeys’ family. Old World monkeys usually have no hair on their face, palms of the hands or soles of their feet. Sunda pig-tailed macaques are immediately recognisable by their curved tail, which looks a bit like a pig’s tail. Their fur is brown-grey and their belly and chest are slightly lighter than their back. The males can weigh twice as much as the females.

Did you know?
  • When Sunda pig-tailed macaques greet each other, they do so by raising their heads and eyebrows and sticking out their lips.
  • Length males 53-73 cm, females 43-58 cm
  • Weight 4.7 to 10.9 kg
  • Lifespan ± 26 years
  • Range Indonesia, Brunei, Thailand and Malaysia
  • Habitat Lowlands and forests

Females give birth just once every two years and give birth to their young after a gestation period of around 170 days. The young suckle for around a year and are fully grown adults at around four years old.


Sunda pig-tailed macaques eat fruit, leaves, herbs and invertebrates, such as insects. When searching for food, the group splits up into smaller groups to find food more quickly. The distance Sunda pig-tailed macaques travel to find food is between 825 and 2964 metres.

Behaviour and habits Sunda pig-tailed macaques live in groups consisting of (many) more adult females than males. They spend most of the day up in the trees and are only on the ground for about eight per cent of their life. Male hierarchy is determined differently to females. Physical strength determines the rank in males; the stronger the male, the higher the rank. For females, it is all about the family line. The daughters of females with a high rank will automatically also receive a high rank. Sunda pig-tailed macaques occasionally come close to human habitats. During heavy rain storms, Sunda pig-tailed macaques like to steal crops while the farmers are sheltering from the rain. When it’s not raining, the monkeys have to be more careful. One by one they sneak into the crop field to try and steal some food. One monkey, often a young adult male, is always on the lookout to sound the alarm when people are near.